You see it every month on your income statement: insurance - group medical. It sticks out like a sore thumb, because of the amount of the expense – quite often it’s your largest expenditure. And the frustrating part is that as a business owner or manager, it would seem to be the one item on which you can have the least amount of control. Why? Because you have not been able to see what is driving this expense and how you can better, or for that matter actually, manage it.
Businesses purchase goods and services every day to provide either a benefit to their customers or to their employees. You are able to evaluate vendors without difficulty on both cost and quality. You ensure everything is delivered and completed on time. But how do you know that you are getting the most cost-effective health care product at the greatest benefit for your business and your employees? Wilmington Health wants you to know this information, so you can make informed decisions that impact your bottom line and the health of your employees.
Health care is changing rapidly, and we know it is difficult to understand new governmental policies, why providers continue to consolidate, the differences in quality and cost among providers, and what it all means to you. So we are determined to take a leadership position both locally and nationally to make all of this easier to understand to provide every health care consumer with real value. The best way to make this happen, and to encourage other health care providers in our area to do the same, is by providing you with the tools to see how well a provider performs and the costs associated with the health care they deliver. It’s called transparency, and it has long been overdue in the health care arena.
For example, when you purchase a new computer, you instantly know the price and you have the opportunity to research the quality of the computer compared to the other computers you could purchase. This allows you to make a “value decision.” That is to say you weigh a given level of quality against a given level of cost and make a decision at the intersection of cost and quality where you find value. Why isn’t it that way in health care? Because until just recently, the health care system had not been pushed to provide this data. Through some new tools that Wilmington Health, insurance carriers and the government have created, you now have a good deal of information at your fingertips as to both the cost and quality of the service you receive from many health care providers in our area.
Using our three main objectives as guides: drive down the continually escalating cost of health care, improve the overall health of the populations that we serve, and deliver a high-quality patient experience, Wilmington Health will be presenting our information directly to you through our website. You’ll be able to navigate to tools that compare costs and show quality-of-care measures that are directly related to our providers and others in the area. You’ll also be able to see how health care in our region compares to other regions across the country.
We want you to be able to weigh both cost and quality and make a value-based decision, just as you do with nearly every other business-related purchase. We will continually work to improve our patient experience, quality and overall value of services provided. And as things change, we will continue our commitment to transparency and update our online report card to reflect our most recent performance.
The time for educating health care consumers is long overdue. When you consider your business, you have your employees, yourself and your family to worry about when it comes to health care. Each of you has different needs, but all of it relates specifically to creating a healthy person and a healthy bottom line. We want you to have as many facts as possible, so keep an eye out as I provide insight into more specifics in the future.
Jeff James is the chief executive officer at Wilmington Health and part of the team of providers and staff driving change in the health care system to reduce cost, improve quality and enhance the patient experience. Since 1971, Wilmington Health has been committed to the care and health of its community in Wilmington as well as all of southeastern North Carolina. Wilmington Health is structured as a multispecialty clinic with primary care providers integrated into the system. In this way, Wilmington Health is able to provide a comprehensive and coordinated approach to the care of all its patients. For more information go to http://www.wilmingtonhealth.com/compare.
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